12 Days: Favorites Places To Be During the Holidays

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Join PocketFives throughout the month of December as we bring you the PocketFives 12 Days of Christmas to help keep you in the spirit of giving.

We’ve covered the favorite holiday traditions, favorite holiday eats, most memorable gifts, and even the top holiday movies from those within the poker world. Now, we’re going to hear some of the favorite places to spend the holiday season.

In the poker world, it’s no secret that the holiday season is one of the best times to be in Las Vegas, and that’s where WPT champion and WSOP bracelet winner David Williams loves to be.

“I would say Las Vegas,” Williams said. “You get the WPT Five Diamond, which is one of the best tournaments of the year, and it’s truffle season, so all the top Vegas restaurants have white truffles available on their menus. My mother moved here, so I also get to spend it with my mother and daughter, so no other choice.”

As you can imagine, family was a big theme no matter the location. Williams mentioned it, so did others, including Felipe ‘mojave14’ Ramos.

“My favorite place to be was always with family in Brazil, but not every time is it possible to be with them, even though I have traveled across the world so many times just to be with there, even last minute,” Ramos said. “But now, I am starting my own family and also have to think about my fiancés family. This year’s Christmas I will be spending in Las Vegas with Natalie, and my favorite place to be is now with her. I wish I could have every one of my family and friends together at the same place, at least for this time of the year. Life is such a rush and we miss a lot these precious time, so I am trying to build my life and family, but also can’t forget my roots.”

Arguably poker’s greatest ambassador, Mike Sexton, also makes the case for Las Vegas where he lives, but he knows the value of showing his son a winter wonderland during this time of year, too.

“I love being home for Christmas, but a couple years ago we wanted our son to experience a ‘White Christmas’ so we went to Park City, Utah, and it was truly fantastic,” Sexton said.

The hustle and bustle of the holidays can be known to drive people crazy. You’re trying to decorate, make every party or plan your own, buy gifts for friends and family, and do it all while living your regular day-to-day life. Vince Van Patten, longtime commentator for the World Poker Tour, likes to take it easy this time of year, at home.

“I love staying home in L.A., hanging with the family, swimming in cold water, and seeing some of the best movies of the year during this time,” Van Patten said. “I like to slow down and be thankful.”

Whereas Van Patten may be slowing down, Dan O’Brien loves the city that never sleeps.

“New York City,” O’Brien said. “It has a special buzz around Christmas and my family has a tradition of enjoying dinner and a play every year. Great spot to be.”

Ronnie Bardah, a World Series of Poker bracelet winner who was once the victim of one of the most incredible bluffs of all time by a former Miss Finland, stays true and says the holidays are best spent back where it all began.

“The holidays are best spent in the hood you grew up in, where childhood memories were created,” Bardah said. “Growing up Jewish, we celebrated Hanukkah on Christmas Day and mom would try to keep the Jewish tradition in the house. I love Christmas, and if I could choose, I would always spend it in Boston! Walking around malls, singing Christmas music, and throwing snowballs at punk kids. These days, New Year’s is always somewhere new. This year, though, I’ll be in Vegas bringing it in with Papa Smurf!”

Lynn Gilmartin, anchor of the World Poker Tour, is also on board for her favorite place being home. For her, that’s Down Under in Australia, but it’s doesn’t mean it’s going to be cold.

“My favorite place to be is at home in Melbourne with my family and friends,” Gilmartin said. “It’s summertime in Australia, so the holidays revolve around barbecues and the beach. I love it and couldn’t imagine having a cold Christmas!”

Do you have a favorite place to spend the holidays? Let us know by commenting on this article or tweet to us at @PocketFives. Happy Holidays!

*Photo courtesy of PokerStarsLIVE.